So there I was, in the thick of my own infertility angst & funk, when I had to endure a flood of baby showers at work. Obviously I was in no mood. I think we’ve all felt the same about going to these things. (The cute little clothes. The glowing woman. “I can’t handle it. I just can’t.”) I’m sure we’ve all felt the same heartache. (“This isn’t fair. When will it be me already?”) And we’ve all experienced the same dilemmas:
“If I don’t go…”
1) My friend / relative will feel like I’m being selfish and disrespectful to her and be mad that I’m “ruining her moment.”
2) Everyone will want to know why I’m not there and it will draw attention to my “issues”.
“If I do go…
I’ll paste a smile on my face and pretend to be happy and to be loving all of the cute presents and I’ll go ridiculously overboard to show how thrilled-to-be-there I really am and help hand out cake and volunteer like an idiot to be the one to make the list of who gave what so she can send thank you notes later and then I’ll stay late to clean up all of the wrapping paper and nasty, dirty, plastic, caked-on-with-cake forks while really the whole time I’m dying inside, drowning in self-pity, pissed at myself for being there, and fantasizing about going on a rampage and stabbing everyone in the neck with a fistful of the plastic caked-on-with-cake forks. “
When we’re so caught up in our own turmoil, and we suck in a breath every time one of these things comes up, we lose sight of something very important: Baby showers are boring at best, torture at worst.
All I could think of in that barrage at work was: Is there a reason they couldn’t have one big party and get them all over with at the same time? Every Friday as the sun set on another work week, it was the dawn of another lame event. And each one…get this… was a surprise. The shenanigans would start on Monday morning when, upon arrival, we would discover a cutesy pink or blue envelope on our desks.
We never knew who distributed them, which makes sense. What moron would admit to arriving to work extra early every Monday morning to play post office-(and not the fun kind)?
Then we’d all open the homemade, computer-generated cards which would have one lone word on the front: Shhhhhhhhhhhh!!!
I remember the first week thinking: “How unique. This card is shouting a whisper at the top of its lungs at me.” The second week I still got as far as: “Interesting, it’s the same invitation as last week’s.” By the third week I was over it.
So there we were having a surprise baby shower every Friday at 5:15 for seven consecutive Fridays like clockwork. By the fifth one, I thought: “You know, this would be a great cover for a mob hit.”
At 5:08 that Friday evening, all the supervisor would have to do was perform her usual tedious ritual: “Karen, when you have a minute, I need to see you in the kitchen.” At which time the giggling girl would be led into the kitchen/den of doom where a hit man would turn on the lights, jump up and yell: “Surprise!” That’s why the invitations were always delivered anonymously under a cloak of darkness. The first four baby showers were just a front to set up the eventual kitchen hit.
Besides the fact that due to my fertility issues I had my own personal vendetta against baby showers, I didn’t appreciate having to stay late on a Friday free of charge. I guess I didn’t have to stay. In fact, a couple of times I had my jacket on and was heading for the door when the word “cupcakes” casually floated by me and back in I went. Then the fun would really start.
Every shower followed the same dull routine: The pregnant woman du jour sits in a chair decorated with tissue paper. She wears a funny paper hat. (Can I go now?) She opens gifts. It’s a bib. It’s a rattle. It’s a toaster. It’s a bagpipe. It’s a who gives a….We all break into our fireworks/baby shower/sex lingo: “Ooooh, ahhhhh, awww. Wow, is that something new?” (I once was so disinterested I momentarily lost focus, reverted back to the invitation and yelled out “Shhhhhhhhhhhh!”) Then I’d add my own shtick-Same joke at every shindig: Ask where they bought the little potty because “I want to get one for my desk.” As each present was brought over and opened, I would count how many were left on the table. “1 down. 29 to go. 2 down. 28 to go”. When at long last, the gifts had all been opened, I pocketed some cupcakes so the hour wouldn’t be a total loss and escaped before anyone noticed that not one of the 30 gifts was from me.
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please check out my Laughing IS Conceivable books below @: http://laughingisconceivable.com